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The love/hate relationship we have with silicones is never-ending. We love what they can do to our hair while hating what they can do to our hair. Yes, there are good ones (water-soluble) and bad ones (non-water soluble) silicones but as we are unique curlies, there are some who love the bad ones and even hate the good ones. You just cannot please everybody. Despite the debate on whether to love them or hate them, we still have questions on how they will fare with specific needs. CurlyMe3C  had a great question in our Curly Q&A  that needed addressing. 

Question

Is silicone good for chemically dyed/colored hair?

Answer

Yes and no. Sorry for being wishy-washy but let me explain.  Silicones are excellent for many things but can be just as bad on others. As far as color-treated hair, we need to be cautious about the products we use as color often dries our hair and damages it. The ammonia or another chemical in hair dye causes the cuticles to swell and allows the dye molecules to pass into the hair and cause permanent coloring. This process can actually damage the hair strand so we must use moisturizing products specifically created for color-treated hair to ensure we stop the damage and hydrate the hair as much as possible. That’s why you should be using products specifically for color-treated hair once you color. So how do silicones factor into this equation? Many products we use after we have colored our hair may or may not have silicones and while we want to be cautious about what we use some products actually need those silicones to work properly.

Silicones are great for coating hair, right?

They seal the hair strand like a protective layer and that imparts shine as well as staving off frizz. They also make detangling easier so many curlies love them in their conditioners and some shampoos. The problem is the buildup they create that needs to be washed away and that usually means a clarifying shampoo or one with sulfates. Those types of shampoo are harsh on hair and detrimental to color-treated hair as they may cause fading or make already-weakened hair even weaker.

Silicones are great for protecting hair against heat, right?

Yes, they are one of the best ingredients in heat protectants for protecting the hair against the heat. The problem is that the coating of silicone will need to be cleansed by a clarifying shampoo or one with sulfates and you end up with the problem in the last point. Also, color-treated hair should be using limited heat as heat can be damaging to hair and couple that with the damaging effects of color and you may be creating even more damage and dryness. Add the silicone to the mix and you will be needing some serious moisture overload to combat all of that damage!

Are silicones good for color-treated hair at all?

Water-soluble silicones are fine for color-treated hair or curly hair in general as they do not cause buildup. If you are using heat then using a heat protectant with silicones is ideal to help protect your delicate, color-treated strands. Just limit your heat and try and stick to those water-soluble silicones like in the list below:

Water-soluble silicones

  • PEG-8 (or higher) Dimethicone
  • Bis-PEG-8 (or higher) Dimethicone
  • Bis-PEG-8/PEG-8 Dimethicone
  • Bis-PEG-18 methyl ether dimethyl silane
  • PEG-8-PG-coco glucoside dimethicone
  • Dimethicone PEG-X phosphate
  • Dimethcione copolyol